Vauxhall has begun testing a rally variant of the new Corsa-e electric hatchback, making it the first manufacturer to offer customers an electric rally car. 

Called the Corsa-e Rally, the model will be available to buy from sister-brand Opel’s motorsport division, with the German manufacturer claiming a sub-£46,000 price tag. 

The cost represents a near-£20,000 increase over the £26,490 starting price of the standard Corsa-e, with the rally model retaining the 50kWh battery and 134bhp, 192lb ft electric motor of the production variant.

“We have two objectives”, said Opel Motorsport Director, Jörg Schrott. “Both cars are covering as many miles as possible, in order to gather the maximum amount of data at an early stage. There is no experience of an electric rally car that we could turn to, so initially we had to rely on calculations and simulations. 

“These are being gradually replaced with real data. Other focuses are on loads and temperature management of the battery, as well as adapting the software. I am pleased to report that our programme is going smoothly.”